He awoke to the warmth of twinkling stars. Above him, the comforting face of Atlas peered down at him and he smiled at the familiarity of the constellation. Next to Atlas, stood the Proud Centaur and, sparkling in the middle of his forehead, was a far off planet that no one had yet named. A head moved into his view, blocking the night sky, and smiled serenely down at him. It was one of the monks and, as Aldric maneuvered his way into a sitting position, he noted that all of the monks had congregated around him.
“Please do not be alarmed,” said the monk standing next to him. “It is a great gift to be selected by the Witch.”
“Excuse me?” said Aldric.
“Your vision. It was a gift from the Witch. A revelation of the future.”
The township was officially named the 56th charter of the Order of the Chiroptera. Every night at sundown, the monks would set up the altar at the edge of the cave, a swallowing mouth of darkness and stale air. They would light the red candles and hum softly, as the fading light of the sun kissed the temples of the townsfolk. Merchants would wind their carts slowly through the crowd, offering refreshments and trinkets, talismans to facilitate the worshiping process and jewels to attract good luck. Children would run circles around each other and laugh with sugar stained lips, until the moon began to show and the night crept in—then there would be a hushed silence and the children would huddle close to their mothers and husbands would wrap their arms around their family and they would wait for the Exodus.
On the night in question, there was a split second of silence as the sun disappeared.
And then the squeaking broke through the air and the sky was suddenly filled with black specks of bats as they washed over the countryside. Awoken from their sleep, they dipped and swirled, forming an almost impenetrable mass of darkness against the cloudy night sky.
Restless and stretching, bones and muscles, flesh and soul. Reach for the Moon's hand—and find empty air. She sits in the dark and contemplates her choices. Is this the witch's curse? To be so riddled with worry that her bottom lip begins to bleed? Her powers only extend to others and do little to console her own soul, damned as it is.
Her spirit-companion sits near the fire, though it can feel no heat nor cold, and only looks up when she moves around the room. It can feel her restlessness and understands that its immaterial form can offer her no solace at the moment.
With the ground so frozen, the worms do not come out to play and she fears she may have lost her one and only true purpose. A sickness has attacked the small town and there are many knocks on her door for a cure, but she needs the petals from a rose and no one can offer her such a delicacy. Why, then, has she been given this task? Materials are so bare here. Why does the Crow God insist she stay? He says there is a darkness out to get her, but why does he care? And since when has darkness been her enemy? There are many questions keeping her eyelids from closing tonight, and very few answers to satiate her worry.
We came upon the milky gray river and
washed our souls with rosemary.
We must never forget that feeling. The
vibration of pumping blood is never too much to handle. Scrapes and
bruises must equal severed limbs and crushed bones if we are to
survive. The Witch grabs my hand.
When the cold wind blows—that's when
she finds the spell, carried along with the leaves of an ancient tree
and the smoke from a fire on the other side of the world. The Gods
are not happy; the child is an abomination in the face of nature. She
must be destroyed tonight or the heavens will wreak havoc on the
But one witch does not care and she
begs the Worms for their help. They desire her flesh and she promises
Action fills the frame as Jesus, off center,
accepts his fate with a downcast gaze. His parted lips seem to sigh
in resignation. Judas still grips his master in an embrace of love
and betrayal, his robes flowing in the furry of action as Roman
soldiers rush onto the scene in a final decisive movement, confirming
the crushing blow of Judas' deceit. A lantern, held by a likeness of
the artist, casts a dramatic, harsh light that lays solidly,
uncompromisingly, against thick shadows and illuminates the scene. It
is an image of dread and despair where each figure is wrapped in
their own gloom, their faces illuminated in the divine love of God
but their hearts awash with the faults of humanity.
Appropriately titled “The Taking of the
Christ,” this painting represents the mystery of the artist
Caravaggio and the way he has captivated even the most contemporary
of audiences; this is noted particularly by the fact that it went
missing some centuries ago and has only recently been rediscovered
with great enthusiasm and debate. The urge to find the hidden
treasures that Caravaggio has left behind is certainly a
wide-reaching result of his talent. Although little was known about
his personal life—including his death—his paintings have revealed
the desires and morbid fascination within society's heart. His images
have been at the center of controversy during his time and during
contemporary times as well. As a known murderer and a convicted
felon, his life certainly reflected the violence and sensuality
inherent in his work. Caravaggio's life is peppered with violent
outbreaks, altercations with the law, and a strong willingness to
subvert the accepted ideals of society, all of which directly
influenced his art style.
There are a few out there who know about a project I have been working on called "The Worm Witch," and there are even fewer who know about the origins of the tale. The Worm Witch could raise the dead, being one of the Nine great witches of our time. You might see her story here soon, in fact, if I can ever bring myself to share it (I'm a greedy artist sometimes).
Something rather odd happened to me this morning: last night was filled with awkward dreams and slight echoes of old friends and their betrayals. I don't know if I was thinking directly about the Worm Witch while I dreamt, but I know I had thought about her before I fell asleep, even if the thought was fleeting. Well, I opened my eyes this morning and found a tiny, brown worm staring at me. Literally. It was sitting up, it's midsection bent, and it was looking at me inquisitively. I'm not sure where he or she came from but maybe, perhaps, I called it in my sleep...?